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Risks Related to Our ADSs
The market price for our ADSs has fluctuated and may continue to be volatile.
The market price for our ADSs has fluctuated significantly since we first listed our ADSs. Since our ADSs became listed on the NYSE on May 4, 2011, the closing prices of our ADSs have ranged from US$2.60 to US$18.01 per ADS, and the last reported trading price on April 22, 2013 was US$2.60 per ADS.
The market price for our ADSs may be highly volatile and subject to wide fluctuations in response to factors including the following:
· regulatory developments in our industry affecting us, our advertisers or our competitors;
· announcements of studies and reports relating to the quality of our services or those of our competitors;
· changes in the economic performance or market valuations of other companies that provide SNS, online games, online advertising or social commerce services or other internet companies;
· actual or anticipated fluctuations in our quarterly results of operations and changes or revisions of our expected results;
· changes in financial estimates by securities research analysts;
· conditions in the SNS, online game, online advertising and social commerce industries or the internet industry in general;
· announcements by us or our competitors of new services, acquisitions, strategic relationships, joint ventures or capital commitments;
· additions to or departures of our senior management;
· fluctuations of exchange rates between the RMB and the U.S. dollar; and
· sales or perceived potential sales of additional ordinary shares or ADSs.
In addition, the stock market in general, and the market prices for internet-related companies and companies with operations in China in particular, have experienced volatility that often has been unrelated to the operating performance of such companies. The securities of some China-based companies that have listed their securities in the United States have experienced significant volatility since their initial public offerings, including, in some cases, substantial price declines in the trading prices of their securities. The trading performances of these Chinese companies’ securities after their offerings may affect the attitudes of investors toward Chinese companies listed in the United States, which consequently may impact the trading performance of our ADSs, regardless of our actual operating performance. In addition, any negative news or perceptions about inadequate corporate governance practices or fraudulent accounting, corporate structure or other matters of other Chinese companies may also negatively affect the attitudes of investors towards Chinese companies in general, including us, regardless of whether we have conducted any inappropriate activities. Further, the global financial crisis and the ensuing economic recessions in many countries have contributed and may continue to contribute to extreme volatility in the global stock markets. These broad market and industry fluctuations may adversely affect operating performance. Volatility or a lack of positive performance in our ADS price may also adversely affect our ability to retain key employees, most of whom have been granted options or other equity incentives.
Our dual-class voting structure will limit your ability to influence corporate matters and could discourage others from pursuing any change of control transactions that holders of our Class A ordinary shares and ADSs may view as beneficial.
We have a dual-class voting structure which consists of Class A ordinary shares and Class B ordinary shares. Subject to certain exceptions, in respect of matters requiring the votes of shareholders, holders of Class A ordinary shares are entitled to one vote per share, while holders of Class B ordinary shares are entitled to ten votes per share. Each Class B ordinary share is convertible into one Class A ordinary share at any time by the holder thereof, while Class A ordinary shares are not convertible into Class B ordinary shares under any circumstances. Upon any transfer of Class B ordinary shares by a holder thereof to any person or entity which is not an affiliate of such holder, such Class B ordinary shares shall be automatically and immediately converted into the equal number of Class A ordinary shares.
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We issued Class A ordinary shares represented by our ADSs in our initial public offering in May 2011. Mr. Joseph Chen, our founder, chairman and chief executive officer and SB Pan Pacific Corporation are our only shareholders who hold Class B ordinary shares. Due to the disparate voting powers attached to the two classes of ordinary shares, Mr. Chen and SB Pan Pacific Corporation beneficially own approximately 56.5% and 33.9%, respectively, of the aggregate voting power of our company as of March 31, 2013 and have controlling power over matters requiring shareholder approval, subject to certain exceptions. As between Mr. Chen and SB Pan Pacific Corporation, the approvals of SB Pan Pacific Corporation are required for certain important matters relating to our company. See “Item 10. Additional Information—B. Memorandum and Articles of Association—Ordinary Shares—Voting Rights.” This concentrated control will limit your ability to influence corporate matters and could discourage others from pursuing any potential merger, takeover or other change of control transactions that holders of Class A ordinary shares and ADSs may view as beneficial.
Because we do not expect to pay dividends in the foreseeable future, you must rely on price appreciation of our ADSs for return on your investment.
We currently intend to retain most, if not all, of our available funds and any future earnings to fund the development and growth of our business. As a result, we do not expect to pay any cash dividends in the foreseeable future. Therefore, you should not rely on an investment in our ADSs as a source for any future dividend income.
Our board of directors has complete discretion as to whether to distribute dividends. Even if our board of directors decides to declare and pay dividends, the timing, amount and form of future dividends, if any, will depend on, among other things, our future results of operations and cash flow, our capital requirements and surplus, the amount of distributions, if any, received by us from our subsidiary, our financial condition, contractual restrictions and other factors deemed relevant by our board of directors. Accordingly, the return on your investment in our ADSs will likely depend entirely upon any future price appreciation of our ADSs. There is no guarantee that our ADSs will appreciate in value or even maintain the price at which you purchased the ADSs. You may not realize a return on your investment in our ADSs and you may even lose your entire investment in our ADSs.
Substantial future sales or perceived potential sales of our ADSs in the public market could cause the price of our ADSs to decline.
Sales of our ADSs or ordinary shares in the public market, or the perception that these sales could occur, could cause the market price of our ADSs to decline. As of March 31, 2013, we have 1,136,397,903 ordinary shares outstanding, comprised of (i) 431,017,239 Class A ordinary shares represented by ADSs, which ADSs are freely transferable without restriction or additional registration under the Securities Act, (ii) 299,992,214 Class A ordinary shares not represented by ADSs, which are available for sale subject to volume and other restrictions as applicable under Rules 144 and 701 under the Securities Act, and (iii) 405,388,450 Class B ordinary shares which, following conversion to Class A ordinary shares by the holder of the Class B ordinary shares, are available for sale subject to volume and other restrictions as applicable under Rules 144 and 701 under the Securities Act.
Certain holders of our ordinary shares have the right to cause us to register under the Securities Act the sale of their shares. Registration of these shares under the Securities Act would result in ADSs representing these shares becoming freely tradable without restriction under the Securities Act immediately upon the effectiveness of the registration. Sales of these registered shares in the form of ADSs in the public market could cause the price of our ADSs to decline.
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You may not have the same voting rights as the holders of our ordinary shares and may not receive voting materials in time to be able to exercise your right to vote.
Except as described in this annual report and in the deposit agreement, dated as of May 4, 2011, by and among our company, Citibank, N.A., as depositary, and the holders and beneficial owners of American depositary shares, holders of our ADSs will not be able to exercise voting rights attaching to the Class A ordinary shares represented by our ADSs on an individual basis. Holders of our ADSs will appoint the depositary or its nominee as their representative to exercise the voting rights attaching to the Class A ordinary shares represented by the ADSs. Upon receipt of your voting instructions, the depositary will vote the underlying Class A ordinary shares in accordance with these instructions.
Pursuant to our amended and restated memorandum and articles of association, we may convene a shareholders’ meeting upon seven (7) calendar days’ notice. If we give timely notice to the depositary under the terms of the deposit agreement (30 days’ notice), the depositary will notify you of the upcoming vote and arrange to deliver our voting materials to you. We cannot assure you that you will receive the voting materials in time to instruct the depositary to vote the Class A ordinary shares underlying your ADSs, and it is possible that you, or persons who hold their ADSs through brokers, dealers or other third parties, will not have the opportunity to exercise a right to vote. In addition, the depositary and its agents are not responsible for failing to carry out voting instructions or for the manner of carrying out voting instructions. This means that you may not be able to exercise your right to vote and there may be nothing you can do if the Class A ordinary shares underlying your ADSs are not voted as you requested. In addition, although you may directly exercise your right to vote by withdrawing the Class A ordinary shares underlying your ADSs, you may not receive sufficient advance notice of an upcoming shareholders’ meeting to withdraw the Class A ordinary shares underlying your ADSs to allow you to vote with respect to any specific matter.
Your right to participate in any future rights offerings may be limited, which may cause dilution to your holdings, and you may not receive cash dividends if it is impractical to make them available to you.
We may from time to time distribute rights to our shareholders, including rights to acquire our securities. However, we cannot make rights available to you in the United States unless we register both the rights and the securities to which the rights relate under the Securities Act or an exemption from the registration requirements is available. Under the deposit agreement, the depositary will not make rights available to you unless both the rights and the underlying securities to be distributed to ADS holders are either registered under the Securities Act or exempt from registration under the Securities Act. We are under no obligation to file a registration statement with respect to any such rights or securities or to endeavor to cause such a registration statement to be declared effective and we may not be able to establish a necessary exemption from registration under the Securities Act. Accordingly, you may be unable to participate in our rights offerings and may experience dilution in your holdings.
The depositary of our ADSs has agreed to pay to you the cash dividends or other distributions it or the custodian receives on our ordinary shares or other deposited securities after deducting its fees and expenses. You will receive these distributions in proportion to the number of ordinary shares your ADSs represent. However, the depositary may, at its discretion, decide that it is inequitable or impractical to make a distribution available to any holders of ADSs. For example, the depositary may determine that it is not practicable to distribute certain property through the mail, or that the value of certain distributions may be less than the cost of mailing them. In these cases, the depositary may decide not to distribute such property to you.
You may be subject to limitations on transfer of your ADSs.
Your ADSs are transferable on the books of the depositary. However, the depositary may close its transfer books at any time or from time to time when it deems expedient in connection with the performance of its duties. In addition, the depositary may refuse to deliver, transfer or register transfers of ADSs generally when our books or the books of the depositary are closed, or at any time if we or the depositary deems it advisable to do so because of any requirement of law or of any government or governmental body, or under any provision of the deposit agreement, or for any other reason in accordance with the terms of the deposit agreement.
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You may face difficulties in protecting your interests, and your ability to protect your rights through the U.S. federal courts may be limited because we are incorporated under Cayman Islands law, we conduct substantially all of our operations in China and substantially all of our directors and officers reside outside the United States.
We are incorporated in the Cayman Islands and conduct substantially all of our operations in China through our PRC subsidiaries and consolidated affiliated entities. Most of our directors and officers reside outside the United States and a substantial portion of the assets of such directors and officers are located outside of the United States. As a result, it may be difficult or impossible for you to bring an action against us or against these individuals in the Cayman Islands or in China in the event that you believe that your rights have been infringed under the securities laws or otherwise. Even if you are successful in bringing an action of this kind, the laws of the Cayman Islands and of China may render you unable to enforce a judgment against our assets or the assets of our directors and officers. There is no statutory recognition in the Cayman Islands of judgments obtained in the United States, although a final and conclusive judgment in the federal or state courts of the United States under which a sum of money is payable, other than a sum payable in respect of taxes, fines, penalties or similar charges, and which was neither obtained by fraud or in proceedings contrary to natural justice or the public policy of the Cayman Islands, may be subject to enforcement proceedings as a debt in the courts of the Cayman Islands under the common law doctrine of obligation without any re-examination of the merits of the underlying dispute.
Our corporate affairs are governed by our amended and restated memorandum and articles of association, as amended and restated from time to time, and by the Companies Law (2012 Revision) and common law of the Cayman Islands. The rights of shareholders to take legal action against us and our directors, actions by minority shareholders and the fiduciary responsibilities of our directors are to a large extent governed by the common law of the Cayman Islands. The common law of the Cayman Islands is derived in part from comparatively limited judicial precedent in the Cayman Islands as well as from English common law, which provides persuasive, but not binding, authority. The rights of our shareholders and the fiduciary responsibilities of our directors under Cayman Islands law are not as clearly established as they would be under statutes or judicial precedents in the United States. In particular, the Cayman Islands has a less developed body of securities laws than the United States and provides significantly less protection to investors. In addition, Cayman Islands companies may not have standing to initiate a shareholder derivative action in U.S. federal courts.
As a result, our public shareholders may have more difficulty in protecting their interests through actions against us, our management, our directors or our major shareholders than would shareholders of a corporation incorporated in a jurisdiction in the United States.
Our amended and restated memorandum and articles of association contain anti-takeover provisions that could adversely affect the rights of holders of our ordinary shares and ADSs.
Our amended and restated memorandum and articles of association contain certain provisions that could limit the ability of others to acquire control of our company, including a provision that grants authority to our board directors to establish from time to time one or more series of preferred shares without action by our shareholders and to determine, with respect to any series of preferred shares, the terms and rights of that series. The provisions could have the effect of depriving our shareholders of the opportunity to sell their shares at a premium over the prevailing market price by discouraging third parties from seeking to obtain control of our company in a tender offer or similar transactions.
Our two largest shareholders are able to significantly influence our actions over important corporate matters, which may deprive you of an opportunity to receive a premium for your shares and reduce the price of our ADSs.
As of March 31, 2013, Mr. Joseph Chen, our founder, chairman and chief executive officer, beneficially owns approximately 66.7% of our outstanding Class B ordinary shares, representing in aggregate 56.5% of our total voting power, and SB Pan Pacific Corporation beneficially owns approximately 37.0% of our outstanding Class A ordinary shares and approximately 33.3% of our outstanding Class B ordinary shares, representing in aggregate 33.9% of our total voting power. As between Mr. Chen and SB Pan Pacific Corporation, the approvals of SB Pan Pacific Corporation are required for certain important matters relating to our company. See “Item 10. Additional Information—B. Memorandum and Articles of Association—Ordinary Shares—Voting Rights.” Consequently, these shareholders are able to significantly influence matters such as electing directors and approving material mergers, acquisitions or other business combination transactions. This concentration of ownership and voting power may also discourage, delay or prevent a change in control of our company, which could have the dual effect of depriving our shareholders of an opportunity to receive a premium for their shares as part of a sale of our company and reducing the price of our ADSs. These actions may be taken even if they are opposed by our other shareholders, including those who purchase ADSs. In addition, these persons could divert business opportunities away from us to themselves or others.
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We may be a passive foreign investment company for United States federal income tax purposes, which could subject United States investors in the ADSs or ordinary shares to significant adverse United States income tax consequences.
Depending upon the value of our ordinary shares and ADSs and the nature of our assets and income over time, we could be a passive foreign investment company, or PFIC, for United States federal income tax purposes. A non-United States corporation will be treated as a PFIC for any taxable year if either (i) 75% or more of its gross income for such year consists of certain types of “passive” income, or (ii) 50% or more of the value of its assets (determined on the basis of a quarterly average) during such year is attributable to assets that produce passive income or are held for the production of passive income. Passive income is any income that would be foreign personal holding company income under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, including, without limitation, dividends, interest, royalties, rents, annuities, net gains from the sale or exchange of property producing such income, net gains from commodity transactions, net foreign currency gains and income from notional principal contracts.
We believe we were a PFIC for the taxable years ending December 31, 2011 and December 31, 2012. Our PFIC status for the current taxable year will not be determinable until after the close of the current taxable year. Because we currently hold, and expect to continue to hold, a substantial amount of cash and other passive assets and, because, as a public company, the value of our assets for this purpose is determined in part by reference to the market prices of our ADSs and outstanding ordinary shares, there can be no assurance that we will not be a PFIC for the current or any future taxable year.
If we are a PFIC for any taxable year in which you hold our ADSs or ordinary shares and you are a U.S. Holder (as defined in “Item 10.E—Additional Information—Taxation—Certain United States Federal Income Tax Considerations—General”), you generally will become subject to increased U.S. federal income tax liabilities and special U.S. federal income tax reporting requirements, unless you make a timely “mark-to-market” election to mitigate some of the applicable consequences. For more information on the U.S. federal income tax consequences to you that would result from our classification as a PFIC, see “Item 10.E—Additional Information—Taxation—Certain United States Federal Income Tax Considerations—Passive Foreign Investment Company Rules.”
Item 4. Information on the Company